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Rianna Jarrett Interview by Dylan O’ Connell of Pro-Scout3

Republic of Ireland senior international Rianna Jarrett is thriving at her new club Brighton Hove Albion in the FA Women’s Super League.

The striker signed for The Seagulls in January 2020 after nine seasons in the Women’s National League with Wexford Youths in Ireland where she won everything from league titles to national cups.

Rianna: “It’s mad to sit here right now and think back over the last year,” she told Pro Scout 3.

Rianna: “Last year I was as fit and as strong as I have ever been. I got to win the FAI Women’s Cup in the Aviva Stadium last November which was great. To follow that up with the transfer to Brighton was just fantastic.”

Jarrett marked her debut for The Seagulls by scoring a brace in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the FA Women’s Cup. That day at Hyde Lane was the climax of many years of hard work and dedication for Jarrett who always held aspirations of playing at the highest possible level.

Rianna: “The idea to go professional was was really in my head since the end of the 2018 season. At the end of that year I felt like I really wanted to test myself at the next level.”

Rianna: “Everything started when I was in LA with the Irish team to play the United States after they won the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Over there I was talking to Louise Quinn who had gone from amateur to professional football. I asked her what she had done to get to that level and how she had gone about it. At this point I had gotten in contact with a company in Galway to put together a standalone highlight video for me. I was able to use clips from my games with Ireland and Wexford for that.

Rianna: “Louise put me in contact with one of her agents. Her agent contacted me a few weeks later and I told her about the highlight video. She was able to put a player profile together for me with the video. The agent also said she would be my point of contact with clubs across Europe and in the UK. Then an option for a trial with Brighton then came up.”

Rianna: “I was supposed to go on trial in November but I had to postpone it over an injury I picked up in the FAI Women’s Cup final. Luckily Brighton brought me over in January. I wasn’t fully fit and ready to play but they took a chance on me and signed me on a six month deal. The plan was to extend this now but that is up in the air over the shutdown.”

Before the cross channel move to the FA Women’s Super League, Jarrett’s first taste of the game outside of Ireland came in 2014 when she studied at the University of Tennessee at Martin and played football at the college team the UT Martin Seahawks.

Rianna: “It was great experience studying and playing football over in Tennessee. UT is a small college in the middle of nowhere, like in the deep Deep South of Tennessee, but I loved every minute of it.”

Rianna: “The set up was fantastic. We had great pitches, a high performance gym, and our own dressing rooms. Because I was on a scholarship I got accommodation on campus and all of my food was paid for. If I wanted too the college would have got me a job too. It was a really enjoyable set up and I really benefited from it as a player.”

Rianna: “I only did one semester in the United States and that was during the college football season. That semester we trained two nights a week and played two nights aon a Thursday and Sunday. Sometimes you would leave on a Thursday morning and not get back to the college until a Sunday evening over the scheduling of games.”

Rianna: “Looking back now at the whole thing, it was a great opportunity to study and play football. If you could get the chance, I would highly recommend it to anyone.”

Even though her season has been interrupted over the suspension of football due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jarrett is still away training and counting down the days to when she can get back on the pitch.

Rianna: “Training at the moment is difficult, but I am working through it. You would miss training as a team with your friends. I am very lucky that Brighton have a program for us and given us whatever we needed. We have a Zoom call and workout three days a week as a squad too. There is also a running program too for us.

Rianna: “I’m just rearing to go again once this is over. Brighton are making sure that when we get back training as a team we will hit the ground running. We know that there will be games in quick succession if the league returns and we know that we will be in the right condition for when we are back on the pitch.”